Latest Posts

Encode Any String to Only Alphanumeric Chars - Better Than URLEncode

Have you ever been faced with a situation (in PHP) of needing to pass information in a URL (or a JSON object, XML, etc), but for whatever reason, urlencode() won't do the job? For example, if you want to base64_encode() a string, then pass it in a URL. Since base64 includes URL-unsafe characters like +/-=, you have to jump through hoops to make it work.

However, there is an easier way, that produces only letters and numbers; no symbols or punctuation of any kind.  Yes, it will inflate the length of the string a little more, but it might be what you need.

WebRTC Video Chat With Only PHP and JavaScript (No NodeJS or WebSockets)

Not long ago I set about trying to create a video chat (Zoom/Skype/Meetings clone) using only PHP and JavaScript.  Every solution and example I found online required that I have NodeJS running a server, which I didn't want to do so as to not complicate matters on the web server.  After many hours of searching and experimentation, I finally found a solution that works.

I based my solution on the preliminary work done by neilsbaloe, though where he uses plain text files, I use a database like MySQL.  Also, I found that with his solution, it only worked about half the time for me, especially if one of the browsers hit "refresh".

Easily Add Your Signature to a PDF With Foxit Reader (Free)

Foxit reader iconLet's say you need to sign a document and send it back to the person requesting it via email.  You could always print it out, sign, then scan to a PDF.  But that is time-consuming, wastes paper, and the original PDF file ends up looking degraded from the trip through the printer & re-scanning.

Let me show you the easiest way I've found: using the free program Foxit PDF Reader

I recommend downloading it from, as that's the easiest way to install it, but you can download it from their official site as well.  Just make sure to get the FREE version; you don't need anything more advanced than that.

Keep a Computer In Your Desk Cabinet Without It Overheating

This is a bit of a DIY project.  I'm going to show you how to keep a computer in a desk or cabinet, but we're going to install an external fan in the cabinet to keep the computer from overheating.  (And we can do it for $15 - $25, depending on your setup).

If you've ever tried to keep a computer (or PS3, PS4, Xbox, etc) in a cabinet or other enclosed space, you know they can get pretty hot.  And that can eventually kill your computer.

FlightPath Source Code Stored in Arctic Code Vault

FlightPath source code stored in Arctic code vaultI'm thrilled to announce that the official source code for my open-source advising system, FlightPath, has been stored in the Arctic Code Vault for all time! 

For those that may not know, I created FlightPath while working as a developer for the University of Louisiana Monroe, and since then it has been released as open source under the GNU GPL license. 

It's been in constant development since 2007, and its code repository is hosted on GitHub, which is where this story begins.

Free SSL Certs, Automatically Renewed

Free SSL Cert, Automatically RenewedSSL certificates are basically required for all modern web sites. The problem is that (1) they cost money, and (2) you have to renew them every year or so.  It gets to be a real pain, especially if you manage multiple sites. 

There is an alternative-- create a (free) self-signed certificate, and give it an expiration of 99 years, but anyone who visits your site will see a huge warning message that it is unsafe.

The solution:  Let's Encrypt.

Mac Out Of Date? Install Linux (and make it look like Windows)!

Mac out of date?  Install linux!In my previous post, I described adding an SSD to boost the speed of my mid-2011 Mac mini.  Unfortunately, that wasn't the only issue.  It won't let me upgrade the Mac OS past version 10.12. Apple refuses to let me upgrade to the latest version (10.15 at the time of this writing) without buying a newer computer. 

So, rather than go out and buy a new Mac to keep up, I installed Linux (plus Cinnamon to make it look like Windows) and now have a fast and fully up-to-date computer.

Ubuntu on Mac looks like windows

Make Your Old Mac Run Like New With An SSD

Change HD in mac mini to SSDLike most of you out there, I have a handful of old computers sitting around, getting more and more out of date by the day.  The worst of my collection, though, was my Mac mini from 2011.  I originally bought it for iOS development, and it ran fine at the time. 

But, Apple forces you to keep upgrading to the latest version of both the OS and XCode, and before long, the Mac mini was running horribly slow.